ALBANY — Beginning on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opted to adopt the federal Center for Disease Control standards and is lifting most mask requirements in most business and public settings for people who are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Albany County Departments of Health and Aging will deliver vaccinations to the homes of seniors and disabled individuals who cannot leave their homes. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 518-447-7198.
The relaxed state standards do not apply to those working or attending Pre-K through grade 12 schools, those using public transit, those in nursing homes, correctional facilities and healthcare settings.
The state will also authorize businesses to continue requiring masks for all customers and employees if they so choose. The state Department of Health also recommends all people wear masks when and where there are unvaccinated people present.
Unvaccinated people, about 48 of the state population more than 18 years old, are still required to wear a mask in all public settings.
The imposed capacity limits are also lifted as of Wednesday and the only restriction on the number of attendees is the space to allow six feet of social distance between patrons. However, as per CDC guidelines, vaccinated people do not need to maintain social distance and businesses can waive that capacity limitation provided patrons provide proof of vaccination through a paper form or electronically through the state Excelsior Pass.
As for events, smaller venues, those with a social gathering limit of 250 indoors or 500 outdoors, can require masks if they desire and social distancing is required between all attendees unless all attendees present proof of full vaccination status.
For larger venues, unvaccinated people must remain six feet apart and remain in assigned sections. Fully vaccinated people do not need to social distance and there are no capacity limits provided there is proof of vaccination.
Children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for a vaccine, and those under the age of 16, who have not yet been vaccinated, may accompany a fully vaccinated adult in the fully vaccinated section of the venue.
“New Yorkers have worked hard over the last year to prevent the spread of COVID and keep each other safe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The people of New York and visitors alike should take solace in the lifting of mask requirements, but be respectful of those who may still feel safest wearing their mask in public and business owners who may still ask patrons to don their mask.”
In Albany County, 58.5 percent of the residents received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and 50.6 percent has been fully vaccinated, said County Executive Dan McCoy on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, there are 24,167 Albany County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic took hold in March, 2020. There have been 78,846 people who completed quarantine and of those, 24,068 have tested positive and recovered. There are 13 residents hospitalized as of Tuesday. The death toll stands at 378.
The County’s most recent seven-day average of percent positive rates is still 1 percent and the eight-county Capital Region’s rate is 1.3 percent.
Albany County will be hosting a first dose Pfizer vaccination clinic at the Albany Capital Center this Thursday, May 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. Those above the age of 12 years old are eligible. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 15 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian; and those between 12 and 17 will need a signed parental consent form. The second dose has been automatically scheduled for June 10. Free parking is available at the Renaissance Hotel parking garage.
Albany County will be administering free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines Monday through Friday, 9am-3pm, each week at the Albany County Department of Health to individuals 12 and older. No appointments are needed and walk-ins are welcome. Those 12 to 15 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. A follow up second dose clinic will be scheduled at the time of the first dose appointment. Free transportation is available for anyone at least 60 years old (and a caregiver), by calling the County Department for Aging at (518) 447-7198 in advance.